The Caquetá Seedeater (Sporophila murallae) is a passerine bird from the western Amazon Basin in south-eastern Colombia, eastern Ecuador, north-eastern Peru and far western Brazil (western Acre and Amazonas only). The status in south-eastern Peru is unclear. Together with the mainly Central American S. corvina, it was formerly considered a subspecies of S. americana, in which case the common name for the combined species was Variable Seedeater. Following the split, this common name is now restricted to S. corvina.
It has a total length of approxomately 11 cm (4½ in). Adult males have a relatively heavy black bill. The upperparts are black, except for a greyish rump (actually white finely streaked black, but only visible up-close), a white wing-bars and a small white wing-speculum
. The underparts are white, except for an irregular black chest-band (often inconplete) and greyish mottling to the flanks. Some individuals show a black malar. The far duller female has a brownish bill, dull buffy-olive upperparts and pale olive-ochre underparts. Juveniles
resemble adult females.
Found in humid open or semi-open grassy areas and shrub; especially along edges of rivers or lakes. Usually seen in pairs or small flocks. As other Sporophila
seedeaters, it mainly feeds on seeds, but has also been recorded feeding on stems, leaves and fruits (e.g. Cecropia
It was only recently accepted as a species distinct from S. corvina and S. murallae by the South American Classification Committee, and its status was first evaluated for the IUCN Red List in 2008, being listed as Species of Least Concern. It is fairly common throughout a large part of its range, and is likely to benefit from the widespread forest-clearance within its range. Overall, it is unlikely to be threatened at this point, but the capture for the wild bird trade could present a problem in the future (as is known from several other Sporophila seedeaters).
- (2008a) Caquetá Seedeater Species Factsheet Retrieved 2008-MAY-26.
- (2008b): [2008 IUCN Redlist status changes]. Retrieved 2008-MAY-23.
- (2003): Birds of Venezuela. Christopher Helm, London. ISBN 0-7136-6418-5
- (2006). Birds of Northern South America. Vol. 1 & 2. Helm, London. ISBN 0-7136-7242-0 (vol. 1); ISBN 0-7136-7243-9 (vol. 2).
- (2001). The Birds of Ecuador - Field Guide. Cornell University Press. ISBN 0-8014-8721-8
- (2007): Birds of Peru. Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-07136-8673-9
- (2007): Recognize four species of Sporophila within the Sporophila americana superspecies Retrieved 2008-MAY-26.
- (1996): When black plus white equals gray: The Nature of variation in the Variable Seedeater complex (Emberizinae: Sporophila). Ornitologia Neotropical 7 (2): 75-107.
- (1989): A guide to the birds of Costa Rica. Comistock, Ithaca. ISBN 0-8014-9600-4